When The Purge hit theaters in 2013, introducing the world to the sick, fictional traditions of an America in which all crime is made legal for 12 hours once a year, the race was on to continue the franchise, seemingly into eternity. After grossing $89.3 million on a $3 million budget, creator James DeMonaco would go on to pen four more films — The Purge: Anarchy (2014), The Purge: Election Year (2016), The First Purge (2018), and, finally, this weekend's The Forever Purge (2021) — and a short-lived television series.
However, until recently, The Forever Purge was reported as being the final entry in the franchise, much to fans' woe. Directed by Everardo Gout, the film follows a group of near strangers who band together to survive the titular "Forever Purge" when a violent fringe group refuses to stop killing after their 12 hours are up. When SYFY spoke with Gout ahead of the film's release on July 2, he joked that, despite reports that this was the final Purge film, it could easily be carried on down the line. "But I have no control over that," he said, smiling. To do another Purge film, Gout says, "It would have to be something very special and it would have to be organic to what we already created because we are reinventing the franchise in some way [with The Forever Purge]; it's a different texture, it's a different pathos, it's a much more serious movie… the tone of the actors are more [based in] reality than other ones. So it would have to check a lot of boxes."
And Gout isn't the only one with a vision for what the future of the Purge franchise looks like. Speaking with Dread Central, DeMonaco followed the letter of the law of his own franchise and invoked a little chaos when he confirmed he is, in fact, working on a new Purge film.
"I had this idea… I can flip this thing upside down and we can continue this, maybe, in a way that people can enjoy," he said. "If the movie gods say, ‘People want to see it' then we'll do it. But I always leave it to the audience to tell us if they want more of it. But we're ready! I have another one if they want it."
When Gout first met with DeMonaco about potentially taking on Forever Purge, he says DeMonaco had expressed some concern that the franchise had been "Hollywood washed."
"He wanted to go back to its original intent," Gout explains. "The Purge is a big political challenge to the second amendment. [DeMonaco] is absolutely anti-guns. And that's how this whole thing started. And so I was encouraged and empowered to take that to the next level and I brought in my viscerality and my authenticity."
Much of that authenticity comes through because — no spoilers — the film takes place in southern Texas and Mexico, and is steeped in questions about what it means to be American and the immigrant experience. So the creators knew they needed a Mexican director. Gout worked alongside DeMonaco to finalize the script and bring in a sense of authenticity, as well as the film's stars Ana de la Reguera (Adela) and Tenoch Huerta (Juan).
"I had a lot of freedom to bring the best actors, which is what I wanted. I didn't want the American version of what a Latino should be, it should be the best actor in Mexico, which to me is Tenoch Huerta," Gout shares. "I've worked with him before, I trust him completely, and I want to bring him on board. With his thick accent and everything. You know, it's part of the truth of who we are and will just make it into something funny in the script instead of trying to shy away from it. We shine a lantern on it and we make a joke out of it and it's part of the tension."
Again, no spoilers, but the film does leave things open for a continuation of the franchise. With the direction The Forever Purge is taking — somehow skewing even more political than previous films have — it certainly seems ripe to become un-Hollywood washed. While there's no true confirmation of whether or not this mysterious sixth Purge movie will come to fruition, it seems the ultimate decision will be made when The Forever Purge is over.
The Forever Purge is now in theaters.
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